Methamphetamines: What Parents Need to Know

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What It Is:

Methamphetamines are stimulants, a type of drug that gives someone the ability to stay awake and do continuous activity with less need for sleep.

These drugs are produced as pills, powders, or chunky crystals called ice. Ice, nicknamed crystal meth, is a popular drug, especially with young adults and for those who frequently go out to dance clubs and parties.

Sometimes Called:speed, uppers, meth, crystal meth, chalk, ice, glass, Christmas tree, crank (especially when injected)
How It's Used:Methamphetamines are swallowed, inhaled, smoked, or injected into a vein.
What It Does:Swallowed or snorted (also called bumping) methamphetamines give the user an intense high. Injections create a quick but strong intense high, called a rush or a flash.

People who abuse methamphetamines feel high and full of energy. They think the drug will allow their bodies to keep going and going. But methamphetamines are very damaging to the body and brain, especially with repeated use.

Side effects include rapid breathing, an irregular heart rate, and increased blood pressure. Users also complain of sweating, headaches, blurred vision, dry mouth, hot flashes, and dizziness. Since the drug often decreases or even eliminates appetite, it has been used as a dangerous dieting strategy for people trying to lose weight quickly.

Long-term use of methamphetamines can bring on brain damage that causes problems with memory and body movements, and can cause mood swings and violent behavior.

When used in larger doses, methamphetamines can cause dangerously high body temperature, confusion, convulsions (uncontrollable jerking body movements), and even death.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014

Related Resources

OrganizationPartnership for a Drugfree America This site features information about drugs and their effects and treatments. The site also shows paraphernalia associated with different drugs and includes personal stories.
Web SiteWeb of Addictions Web of Addictions provides information about alcohol and drug addictions.
Web SiteAddiction Help Line Submit a request for a referral on this site, and it will help direct you to the nearest and most appropriate treatment centers.

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Amphetamines: What Parents Need to Know Amphetamines (including prescription diet pills) are highly addictive stimulants that accelerate functions in the brain and body.
Talking to Your Child About Drugs Just as you inoculate your kids against illnesses like measles, you can help "immunize" them against drug use by giving them the facts now.
Is It Ever OK for Pregnant Women to Take Recreational Drugs? Find out what the experts have to say.
Marijuana: What Parents Need to Know Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the United States.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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